Q. I have suffered from painful cramps in my toes and feet most of my life. I have spent hours walking around the house trying to relieve them. I have worried about the day when I am an octogenarian and might not be able to get up and walk around.
By accident, I discovered effective relief. In my nightstand was a tube of Capsagesic-HP, which my husband used for neuropathic (nerve) pain. Out of desperation in the middle of the night, I rubbed some on my foot. My cramps disappeared instantly and did not return, affording me a peaceful night’s rest. I have used it many times since and always get great relief.
A. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in Capsagesic-HP and many other topical pain medicines (Capsin, Zostrix, etc) is the hot stuff in hot peppers. It is used to alleviate pain from nerve damage, such as post-shingles pain. It may also be helpful for arthritis. Your report is the first we have heard of it being used for nighttime foot cramps.
We have collected a wide variety of other remedies for leg and foot cramps in our Guide to Leg Pain. They range from home remedies and special stretches to supplements such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B, or food sources of potassium.